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Ask an Expert: LEDs in Enclosed Fixtures

Q: Can You Use LED Bulbs in Enclosed Fixtures?

Photo of a finished lower-level room with enclosed can light fixtures.
Using LEDs properly is a bright idea.

A: You can if the bulb is rated for enclosed spaces. What is an enclosed space? It's any space where there is little or no air movement. Examples of enclosed light fixtures include those that have an acorn or other shape of glass shroud around the bulb and any surface-mounted or recessed fixture with a lens cover, such as can lights or fluorescent tube lamps.

What's the issue with LEDs and enclosed spaces? LEDs are cool to the touch (unlike traditional bulbs) but they do generate heat. In fact, the base of an LED gets very hot and this heat is conducted into the surrounding air. High temperatures diminish the light output of standard LED bulbs and can shorten their lifespan. LEDs rated for enclosed spaces are augmented to perform well in warm environments.

Be sure to look carefully on the package to make sure you have the right bulb for your enclosed fixture. With the right bulb in place, you can enjoy the many benefits of LEDs: lower energy use, longer rated life and improved light quality.

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